Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cultural clones - change in narrative

In the previous post we saw how India was viewed and recorded in the pre-Christian times. Innuendo and agenda were completely missing from such records. However when we turn to read records from the AD era, especially by the early jesuits who landed on India's shores in the 1500s, the narrative changes.

The early European "traders" set off from their shores towards India on hearing of the riches that could be made. The heavy Christian influence of the time meant there were a large number of Church going Chrisists in the crew. And almost every good Chrisist felt obliged to write back to his Church of what he saw in far off lands that still hadn't bowed to Christ. It is these records that form the bulk of western records on India from the 1500 onwards. Where early Greek ambassadors were color blind, Jesuits saw "black" people in India. Where Megasthenes recorded Indian culture with interest, Jesuits saw the "wrong" religion.

Being the good soldiers of Christ, the Jesuits couldn't run away from their duty of bringing the word of the one true lord to heathens of India. One such committed soldier was Roberto de Nobili of Italy. Nobili wrote extensively during his stay in India. He soon realized that all India knowledge was captured into Sanskrit, an ancient language no longer spoken by Indians. He also realized that the custody of this knowledge was the exclusive domain of the Bramhins and worst of all, this knowledge was not written, but was handed down verbally. A smart Jesuit, Nobili realized he had to befriend the Bramhins if he wanted to gain access to that knowledge. But he had little luck. He did see the status Bramhins enjoyed because they preserved ancient Indian knowledge.

He soon struck upon an idea to sell himself as a Bramhin to hoodwink the locals into thinking he too was a Bramhin so he could sell them Christianity. He began to dress like one, tried to get himself in Bramhin circles, he claimed to be a "sanyasi from Rome". He even wrote a book and tried to sell it as the "Azur Veda", one of the lost Vedas.

So having landed in India as "traders", the Jesuits soon got to their real work, selling Christianity. They employed every trick they could think of. "Traders" soon began snatching land from locals beginning with Goa and south Indian ports. Chruch building ensued, inquistion followed.

European accounts of India on the AD era were recorded by Jesuits whose eyes and minds were colored by their religion. Next, we will see the plan to engineer cultural clones.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cultural clones - the beginning

Alexander hit a snag in his world conquest when he could not penetrate far into India. Suffering serious setbacks, he had to retreat. He died at 32. Soon after that his empire was divided up by one of his generals, Diadochs. Later, Seleukos I Nikator (358-261 BC) set up his dynasty between Syria to the Hindukush mountains that bordered India. He entered into a peace treaty with Chandragupta Maurya which involved exchanging ambassadors. One of them was Megasthenes.

Megasthenes (350-290 BC), by all accounts was highly educated and had experience in administration. He travelled in India far and wide and recorded every aspect of India he could in the 11 or so years he was here. Sadly most of his works have not survived in the original. However a lot of it has been preserved and reproduced in the Hellenic accounts. Because of his authentic and first hand accounts, it was natural for Megasthenes to be the source for most of the Hellenic writings on India. Diamachos succeeded Megasthenes as ambassador who did his won writing on India.

These early accounts by the Greeks show their curiosity, their interest in observing and studying India. The writings covered flora, fauna, geography, peoples, administrations, military, culture, customs, food and much more. Everything they saw, they recorded in vivid detail. One can actually picture what everyday life was like in the Mauryan period. The freedom they had in traveling, observing and recording India indicates the wonderful working conditions they operated under without bother.

The richness and depth of the writings is indeed remarkable. However, what is even more striking is the complete lack of innuendo. This was the BC era, pre-Christian times. None of the "missions" were born yet. The writings come across as purely objective, observational in nature. There were no comparisons. There were no judgements passed. They were chronicles of educated ambassadors who were not sent on "missions" to India, who were not under any pressure to carry out some "good work", who were not under any pressure to produce weekly, monthly, annual reports or accounts to promote interests. (to be continued...)

In the next post we shall see the change in narrative, who changed it, what changed it, how did it get coloured.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Secular props

It is pretty much well known among independent bloggers and twitter users which side of the political divide do the homegrown secularists lean towards. And it should not be a secret to the others either for they have hardly done it subtly. On every possible occasion the secularists have done all they could to prop up and sell us a secular lemon for our leader.

Their joy knew no bounds when the UPA formation took oath to office in 2004. Sonia Gandhi, the quiet suffering, all sacrificing widow was anointed the undisputed queen of secularism. Manmohan Singh, an allegedly honest man, was foisted on us as our PM. One need not recount the suffering our nation has been going through since then. Both of these secular props have failed every leadership test there is. It didn't bother them that Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi employed questionable means to survive no confidence motion in 2008, a grinning epidemic swept national TV studios and Singh was anointed "King". Omar Abdullah's hate filled speech in the parliament didn't stop them from declaring him "India's Obama". The prince, Rahul Gandhi too threw his weight behind him making him CM for J&K. This "Indian Obama" too has failed miserably and Kashmir is now slipping away from our hands.

The nation has been facing countless grave challenges since the secular props took office, but they continue to dither. Political calculations trump national interest. Many ovaries burst in excitement every time Rahul Gandhi exploits a photo-op, but editorial comments are missing on his absent leadership. Shady characters continue in youth Congress even after Rahul Gandhi promising to change the system. And there's hardly anything to write home about the young Congress leaders. There are countless other examples.

Every single "leader" sold to us by the secularists has been a spectacular failure. Lemons all.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

AFSPA debate

There is quite a bit that is wrong with the secular debate on AFSPA. NDTV had one recently (see here). Almost all points of views were represented though adequacy of some may be debated. The trigger for this debate is the alleged human rights violation of the armed forces. The human rights brigade has had phenomenal success is hijacking every important issue facing us today, but lets not go there.

It is interesting to watch secularists debate. This particular debate began with the host establishing the human rights violation angle. In their opening comments, army men in the show quickly put things back in perspective. This necessitated a change of course putting the focus back on human rights angle. Sajjad Lone helped do this with his stories with some able help from representatives of "civil citizenry". Enter Kanchan Gupta who put things back in perspective citing statistics that debunk the main charged hurled at our army. Turns out 97% of these alleged violations were baseless. Says who? How about the government and NHRC, among others. So now what is a secularist to do? Well, turn back to the human angle and that's precisely what happened.

Now it is alright to debate the army's accountability. It would carry weight if it was based on large scale violations and heavy handedness on the army's part. But, demanding the removal of AFSPA based on aberrations is where the secularists lose the plot. Myopic pursuits hardly help anyone's cause. The army has never been above law and will never be, unlike or neighbor.

The debate did touch upon something important but did not go further as it should have. The army is called in as a last resort, when the government, police, CRPF have all failed to control a situation. Rules and laws that apply in a normal situation have failed. The situation facing us in J&K is hardly normal. It is warlike situation. Now if you bring in the army under such circumstances and subject it to laws the local police is expected to operate under is utterly fruitless. Makes one wonder what is the "civil citizenry" batting for. A jihadi is not burdened by laws, he does not need an OK from a magistrate to fire at our army. Very easy to guess who is in a favorable situation.

The army is a lethal fighting machine guarding us from external threats. It should not be used to tackle internal situations. With political incompetence necessitating its use in J&K it should be empowered to carry out its job effectively. The AFSPA is that cover. To subject it to criminal laws is to neuter it completely. It will have an adverse effect on its operations.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"Hindu terror"

That is the new buzz in mainstream media these days. Apparently, investigative agencies believe that certain right wing Hindu groups may be behind Mecca masjid (Hyderabad) and Ajmer Sharif blasts. It seems picking up people with Hindu names for interrogation is proof enough of "Hindu terror" existence. This is more an effort to counter popular perception world over about Islam and its band of Jihadi terrorists taking innocent lives and causing much damage to property on almost every continent. Islamic terror is the name given to that phenomenon and it not without reason.

Islamic terror has entered every serious discussion across the world since 9/11 occurred. Attacks by Islamic Jihadis in India, US, France, Spain, Russia, China, indeed parts of almost every continent on earth has everyone taking of terror. And everyone believes it is Islamic terror. Reasons -

1. Every Jihadi quotes verses from Koran or orders from religious leaders to justify their attacks.
2. There is no dearth of Islamic religious leaders exhorting the faithful to wage Jihad in the name if Islam. They claim it is incumbent upon every Muslim to spread Islam all over the world and crush everything coming in the way.
3. There is also no shortage of Muslims willing to take up Jihad, sacrifice innocent people and themselves to spread Islam.
4. Muslim parents sending their children to wage Jihad can be found in plenty. They insist it is their duty.
5. Educated, well off Muslims who have spent significant part of their lives in western or non-Islamic countries have been joining the rank of Jihadis. Religion is the connection.
6. Almost every terrorist attack has been carried out by Muslims.
7. Jihadis also seek to threaten sovereignty of nations.

We have witnessed this for decades in India. The Indian Mujahideen sent lengthy e-mails quoting Koran to justify their acts. What other logical conclusion could be drawn in face of these facts? Yet "secularists" hesitate; indeed chide anyone mentioning "Islamic terror".

However, all of this is missing from "Hindu terror". Hindu political or religious leaders calling for terrorism? Absent. Sanction for terror in Hindu religious scriptures? Absent. Sanction for terrorism in Hindu society? Absent. LeT, HuJI, AQ like terror groups by Hindus? Absent. Existence of "Hindu terror" world over? Absent. And this despite suffering Islamic terror for decades in modern times. But, "Hindu terror" it is! If talking of Islamic terrorism hurts Muslim sentiments, wouldn't Hindus be upset too? This consideration is clearly missing and casts doubt on intentions behind this attempt.

And how do "secularists" support their claim? Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Col. Purohit and other Hindus under investigation. It matter less if the charges have'nt been proven yet. On the contrary, the case against them has been weakening with every passing day. All attempts to find some terror connection to them have failed so far. It riles every "secularist" up to learn many Muslims picked up for interrogation are eventually let go for lack of evidence. However, they couldn't be bothered if Hindu connections cannot be proved and continue to be in jail. But attempts to sell the "Hindu terror" theory must continue. How else will "communal" vs. "secular" debate continue? How else will Muslims be portrayed as victims?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Greetings to Gujarat on Swarnim Jayanti

Warm greetings to Gujarat on Swarnim Jayanti. Congratulations to Narendra Modi on bringing about change in Gujarat and taking it to the top in development. Best wishes to the people and CM Narendra Modi for the future.

About Swarnim Gujarat.